Monday, September 22, 2014

Interview With Courtney Cole: Making Family and Writing Work

When I was writing my first book, I had a wonderful little routine established. After dinner I'd make
sure my two middle-school aged children were settled in with homework, a movie, or some other form of entertainment. Then I'd head out to the back yard where I'd converted a gardening shed into a writing studio. Surrounded by my prized quilt collection, I'd crank the music and write until I'd made word count, or fell over from exhaustion.

Enter Baby #3, She might as well have popped out holding a sign that said, "Hi! My name is Emma, and I'm here to turn your life upside down." I still have an office to write in, but it's slowly become a glorified storage room with a desk because I never get to use it. Instead of The National, I listen to Baby Einstein. I snatch writing moments in between diaper changes, snack time, and boo boo kisses. I'm currently writing at about 1/3 to 1/4 my former speed.

 I decided to reach out to other writers who are in the same boat, or have been there, to see what kind of advice they have. After all, I can't be alone in this struggle. Lots of writers juggle families and evil day jobs and still manage to produce. I need to unearth their secrets.

Today the amazing and talented Courtney Cole agreed to let me interview her on how she makes it all work. I'm a long time fan- not just of her writing, but that she seems to exude this "got it together" air when it comes to this writing thing.

1. So you’re a writer, mother, wife, and juggle a lot of other commitments, right? What is that like?

It’s like having a rabid wildcat inside of me, constantly fighting to get out. 
Kidding.  Not Kidding.  

2. Walk us through a typical day in the Cole household.

I get up at 6:30 now that school has started to get my 16-year old son up and around.  I’ve got to make sure he eats a big breakfast so he’s ready for football practice after school. Then I take my 11-year old demon  daughter to middle school, and I’m back at home and in my office chair by 9:45.   I stay planted in that chair until my word goal (3,000 words) is complete.   Sometimes that means not going to pee.  

3. If any one thing has to give on a stressful/ crazy day, what is it?

It will always be my sanity. 
But seriously, if something gives… it’s usually me showering.  Or putting on makeup.  Or real clothes.  Or sometimes, it’s me going to the store, so we have Chinese takeout.

4. How does having a family impact your writing process?

Lol.  Well, this is a loaded question.   Um.  It impacts WHEN I write.  For instance, writers like to write when their creative juices are flowing.  For instance, if I get a great idea at midnight, I’ll get up and write it.  BUT, if I get a great idea on a Sunday afternoon when I’m supposed to be spending family time around the pool, I’ll put off writing it.  And sometimes, when I get around to writing it, the spark just isn’t there like it was when I had the idea.

5.  Would you say your family supports your writing, and if so, how?

Oh, they definitely do.  Although my son gets aggravated because he thinks I work too much.  He just doesn’t remember the days when I also had a full-time day job, and wrote in the mornings and nights.  Kids have short memories. 
But they definitely support me. 

6. Any advice for fellow writers out there with families or similar time constraints?

Write when you can.  You just have to adjust your schedule to make time.  I know it’s hard, but everything that’s worth doing is hard.  If you have to, get up early.  Stay up late.  I know that’s difficult, especially when you have a baby, but it’s the best I’ve got.

7.  What are you working now? What’s next from the mind of Courtney Cole?

I’m working on an amazing, dark NA romance. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever written before—I’m so excited about it!  J

Courtney Cole is a novelist who was born and raised in rural Kansas, lived the next decade near Lake Michigan and has recently migrated to sunny Florida where she writes beneath palm trees.  To learn more about her, please visit

Courtney Cole
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

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  1. I enjoyed the interview- especially the part about choosing to hang out with family instead of rushing out to write down some random awesome idea. Family is so important, and I know it's easy in my case to lose sight of that. Plus I just love Courtney's writing. Pax Pax Pax!